Based on our investigations, PAI has developed the policy recommendations below for the global AI/ML community and policymakers around the world. Additional details on each of these recommendations are provided in the full text of the report.
I. Recommendations for the Global AI/ML Community:
- Use Plain Language Where Possible
Consular and immigration officials may not be trained or familiar with the language used in the AI/ML community. PAI recommends that visa applicants explain technical terms using as much plain language as possible to describe the purpose of their visit and areas of expertise to facilitate the review of application documents and forms.
- Share Relevant Information with Host Countries in Advance
Many governments evaluate visa applications on the basis of the applicant’s nationality and other factors, rather than the skills they will bring to the convening. Conference organizers will have to take extraordinary steps to facilitate the entry of their invited participants until laws, policies, and practices change in countries around the world. Conference organizers should contact host country government officials far in advance of the conference to share relevant information and facilitate government review of visa applications. Useful information includes a description of the conference, number of invited participants, and copies of invitation letter templates and other necessary paperwork.
II. Recommendations for Policymakers:
- Accelerate Reviews of Visa Applications
Pass and implement laws, policies, and practices that accelerate review and favorably consider applications for visas, permits, and permanent legal status from highly skilled individuals. Visas should not be numerically limited or “capped.”
- Create AI/ML Visa Classifications within Existing Groups
Members of existing intergovernmental groups, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), should create visa classifications that enable AI/ML multidisciplinary experts to meet, convene, study, and work across member countries. The terms of the visa should be reciprocal across all countries.
- Publish Accessible Visa Application Information
Visa application rules, processes & timelines should be clear, easily understood and accessible – published in plain language, in the applicants’ native languages on websites and in other publicly available locations. These processes should be fair, transparent, and clearly demonstrate that determinations for sponsor visas are based on skills.
- Establish Just Standards for Evaluating Visa Applications
Eliminate nationality-based barriers in evaluating visa and permanent residence applications from highly skilled individuals. Security-based denials of applications should not be nationality based, but rather should be founded on specific and credible security and public safety threats, evidence of visa fraud, or indications of human trafficking.
- Train Officials in the Language of Emerging Technologies
Train consular and immigration officials in the language of emerging technologies so they can quickly recognize and adjudicate applications from highly skilled experts.
- Assist Visa Applicants
Empower select officials to assist applicants in correctly filling out visa paperwork, as well as clarifying and resolving any questions or discrepancies that may otherwise lead to a denial or delay in approval. Beneficiaries would include startups, small- and medium-sized enterprises, smaller colleges and universities, less affluent applicants, and students and interns.
- Students and Interns are the Future
Pass laws that establish special categories of visas or permits for AI/ML students and interns. These laws should clearly identify a path for graduates to obtain a work permit (as necessary), or to obtain permanent legal status or citizenship.
- Redefine “Families”
Adopt visa permissions that reflect a comprehensive definition of “family,” modeled on the Finnish Aliens Act and similar definitions in other European nations. Family visas should not be numerically limited. Legal spouses, partners, and those with family ties should also be permitted to work or study in the host country. Long-term caregivers should be permitted to accompany and remain with the main visa applicant and their family while employed in that capacity.
- Rely on Effective Policies and Systems to Protect Information
Immigration restrictions do not adequately protect information and intellectual property rights. For example, trade negotiations can strengthen intellectual property laws and establish courts to protect and enforce intellectual property rights owned by individual rights holders, whereas implementing immigration policies and practices that broadly apply to all applicants from a particular country do not.